Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima remains hopeful that the Filipino people can withstand the challenges posed by the continuing threat of coronavirus (COVID-19) gripping many countries around the world, including the Philippines.
De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said she has great faith in the indomitable spirit of the Filipino people to surpass the threat of COVID-19 despite the rise of death and confirmed infected cases.
“We are in extraordinary times, but as always, we Filipinos will time and again prove that we are a resilient people, and that we can withstand any challenge,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame 737.
“Yes, COVID-19 presents a real danger to us all, and we can only survive it if and when we prove that our humanity is stronger than the pandemic and our care for each other spreads faster than the virus,” she added.
Last March 15, the government has placed the whole of NCR under what it referred to as “community quarantine” to contain the spread of COVID-19 infections among workers and residents, especially among poor communities.
Although the Duterte administration has set the period of “community quarantine” until April 14, it was not sure how long it can contain the infections not only in Metro Manila but also in some parts of the country where there are confirmed infected cases.
To date, local health authorities have reported a surge of COVID 19 infections across the country, with at least 14 people who have already died while 187 others are confirmed to have contracted infection.
Although she is not fully convinced that a “community quarantine” – or some others referred to as “lockdown,” is the solution, the lady Senator from Bicol pointed out that the Filipino public should cooperate with the health authorities’ stringent measures to combat COVID-19.
“Bagamat hindi ako ganap na kumbinsido na ito ang nararapat na lunas, wala naman siguro tayong magawa ngayon kundi sundin ito at umasa na ang hakbang na ito ay maging mabisa at matagumpay,” she said.
She, however, urged the government and the private sector to extend assistance to all Filipino families, especially to the daily wage workers and the poor who will surely bear the brunt of the “community quarantine” imposed for at least a month.
“Siguraduhin na makatwiran at makatarungan ang mga hakbang at gawing matiwasay at walang pagmamalabis sa pagpapatupad ng mga ito. Tiyakin na walang karapatang pantao ang malalabag,” she said.
“Dapat maging mas handa, mas madalas, mas maayos at tama ang paghahatid ng impormasyon para maiwasan ang kalituhan, dagdag na pangamba, at pagkalat ng mga maling balita. Isaalang-alang ang karapatang pantao ng bawat isa lalo na ang mga manggagawa at huwag idaan sa pananakot at karahasan ang pagpapasunod sa mga patakaran,” she added.
De Lima also urged the Duterte administration to get its act together and act fast to contain the spread of COVID-19 infections to other communities across the country.
“Malinaw na nagpabaya noong una ang pamahalaan sa hindi kaagad pagpapatupad ng entry ban at quarantine sa mga galing Tsina. Bakit? Takot na magdamdam o magalit ang pinuno ng Tsina. May oras ang pagpapanagot,” she said.
“Nandyan na ang krisis sa biglaang paglobo ng numero sa mga positibo sa virus at may mga namamatay na ngang mga kababayan natin. Harapin natin ito nang buong pag-asa, tapang at dangal,” she added.
De Lima, along with the members of the minority bloc in the Senate, have called for a special session to pass a supplemental budget to address the lack of resources needed to contain the coronavirus in the country.